Afghan Police Update: February 2009

Afghanistan Regional Commands and Provincial Reconstruction Teams.

The Afghan National Police continues to lag behind the Afghan National Army in its readiness to take on its duties without outside help. Most Afghan police units still are rated at the lowest capability level, but last year, for the first time, a few police units reached the top rating.

Police development in Afghanistan has been hindered by lack of institutional reform, widespread corruption, insufficient US military trainers and advisors, and a lack of unity of effort within the international community. However, recent initiatives are attempting to address these problems.

The Focused District Development Program, designed to train Afghan Uniform Police, has been running for a year. (See section below.) Another program, started the end of 2008, is the Focused Border Development Program. It is designed to boost the capacity of the Afghan Border Police. (See section below.)

To combat corruption, 76,000 police have been registered and issued 47,000 identification cards. To prevent pay-centered corruption, an electronic pay system has been implemented in all 34 provinces. This will help ensure proper accountability for police in each province. In addition, 19 provinces (54 percent) have implemented electronic funds transfer. This “direct deposit” pay system ensures that proper pay goes straight to the police officer’s bank account, reducing the likelihood of pay-centered corruption.

The Ministry of Interior is building an Internet Protocol-based network and a wireless radio network for the Afghan National Police and the Ministry of Interior. The networks will connect the six regional commands, all 34 provinces, and as many of the districts as possible. Also being installed are network and radio systems in Regional and Provincial Operational Coordination Centers that will be linked to the Ministry of Interior National Police Coordination Center (NPCC) and the Ministry of Defense NMCC. Based on current fielding plans, the networks will be completed by 2012.

In April 2008, there were no Afghan National Police units rated at Capability Milestone 1, the highest of four CM ratings of training and leadership . As of November 2008, there were 18 Afghan National Police units rated at CM1; 16 are rated as CM2; 22 are rated as CM3; and 317 are rated as CM4.

When sufficient progress has been made in building Afghan police capacity, the Government of Afghanistan and the international community will reassess the security requirements of the country to determine what the final strength of the Afghan National Police should be. It is likely that the Afghan National Police will be expanded beyond the current 82,000-officer target.

Afghan National Police: Training and Mentoring

Initial Entry Training is intended for all Afghan National Police officers. Individual training is conducted at seven Regional Training Centers, a Central Training Center, and the Kabul Police Academy. Initial Entry Training is designed to give an Afghan National Police member the necessary skills to stay alive and respond to the police needs of the community. This program replaces the idea that the various units of the Afghan National Police need different entry-level training. All policemen will share the same initial training, and after it is completed, will be eligible to take unit-specific and additional advanced courses. Training capacity, however, currently is not enough to meet demand. Many untrained policemen remain in the force.

An Afghan National Civil Order Police Training Center at Adraskan, Farah Province, has been established with a capacity of 800 students (approximately three battalions) per 16-week class.

US and ISAF Police Mentoring Teams train and mentor Afghan National Police units. Each Police Mentor Team is composed primarily of military members who provide training support, maintenance, logistics, and administrative coaching to encourage professionalism, and who serve as liaisons with international forces as required. Many Police Mentor Teams support the Focused District Development program in training and mentoring District-level Afghan Uniform Police units. More than 500 civilian police trainers and mentors are deployed with Police Mentor Teams to training centers and to regional, provincial, and district locations in nearly every province.

The eventual Afghan National Police training and mentoring objective is to send a Police Mentor Team to each Afghan Uniform Police district, each provincial and regional headquarters, each Afghan Border Police company and battalion, and each ANCOP company and battalion. The broad geographic scope of the Afghan National Police will require additional mentoring forces and equipment to meet this objective. With 365 districts, 46 city police precincts, 34 provinces, six regions, 20 ANCOP battalions, 33 Afghan Border Police battalions, and 135 Afghan Border Police companies, Police Mentor Teams are present at no more than one-fourth of all Afghan National Police organizations and units. Full Police Mentor Team manning would require 2,375 total military personnel. As of November 2008, only 886 personnel were assigned (37 percent of the personnel required for full coverage). This shortage of Police Mentor Teams affects the ability to increase and improve Afghan National Police training and mentoring. Approximately 1,200 US Marines have been conducting Afghan National Police training missions in nine districts in Regional Command-South and RC-West. These Marines are deployed as a temporary risk mitigation measure because of the shortage of trainers.

Afghan Uniform Police: Focused District Development Program

The Focused District Development Program is a Ministry of the Interior program to reform the Afghan Uniformed Police and simultaneously improve local governance, public works, and elements of the Rule of Law.

The Focused District Development Program addresses the critical development and reform requirements of the Afghan Uniform Police. Under the Focused District Development program, Afghan Uniform Police units are removed from their home districts and undergo eight weeks of training and reconstitution. When they complete the reconstitution, Afghan Uniform Police units return to their home districts, equipped and trained, under the guidance of police mentors. Simultaneously, judges and prosecutors within the Focused District Development districts receive targeted training.

A new feature being added to Focused District Development is reconstruction development. To win a counter-insurgency campaign, reconstruction is needed at the local, district level. By making progress on the tactical level, it buys time and space for gains on the strategic level. The Focused District Development Program is becoming one avenue to accomplish this. In the assessment phase of the program, the government ministries of Afghanistan identify the reconstruction development projects that can be brought into the district; how to improve governance and rule of law; and how to work between the informal and formal structures of governance to get them to coexist. These are the things that are expanding into the Focused District Development Program, which initially was focused on development of the police.

The goals of Focused District Development are to:

• Enhance Afghan Uniform Police capabilities in all 365 districts.

• Transform the loyalties of the Afghan Uniform Police to the Afghan nation and to the people of Afghanistan.

• Build the Rule of Law at the district level.

• Build a prosecutor-driven justice system.

• Support reconstruction development.

• Strengthen the linkage between the Afghan Uniform Police and higher headquarters.

• Further develop the capacity of the Ministry of the Interior.

Focused District Development has six phases:

1. A District Assessment and Reform Team assesses districts and sets the conditions for successful reform of the district’s police and Rule of Law. The team is composed of members of the Ministry of Interior, Attorney General’s Office, International Security Assistance Force Regional Command, Afghan Regional Security Integration Command, EUPOL, UNAMA, and other agencies as required and appropriate. This phase is approximately 60 days.

2. An Afghan National Civil Order Police unit relieves the District Police and assumes control of the District to permit Afghan Uniform Police members of the unit to depart for retraining and reorganizing at a Regional Training Center. This phase lasts approximately 10 days.

3. The new District Police are reconstructed at the Regional Training Center. The unit is reorganized, retrained, and re-equipped. District Police facilities are concurrently renovated. This phase is approximately 8 weeks in duration.

4. The new District Police are reinserted into the district. This occurs over one week.

5. Police Mentor Teams over-watch the newly reformed police and continue collective training until validation by a special team. This phase lasts a minimum of four months.

6. The District Police continue operations with continuous monitoring and over-watch from local Provincial Reconstruction Teams.

Six cycles of Focused District Development were completed in 2008. The first and second cycles are progressing through the mentorship phase, and several Police Mentor Teams are leaving Afghan Uniform Police districts that have achieved reform validation in accordance with their Capability Milestone rating. The third and fourth cycles, being implemented in 17 districts, have completed reconstitution at the Regional Training Centers and are in the initial stages of Police Mentor Team involvement. Cycle 5 is currently undergoing reconstitution at the Regional Training Center.

A total of 52 Districts have been trained. These districts are concentrated in the south and east, near the Ring Road. See Afghan National Police OOB page for a partial list. Ten Focused District Development Districts have been validated as capable of independent operations. As of January 2009, 3,000 Afghan Uniform Police have been trained in Regional Training Centers.

In addition to the improving capability levels, another sign of progress is the casualty data for local Afghans in Afghan Uniform Police districts. In the districts that have completed Focused District Development, there has been a 60 percent decrease in casualties.

The primary problem with Focused District Development is that it is taking too much time. At the current rate it will take more than five years to complete. There is a general desire is to almost double the rate that districts are trained and mentored. However, accelerating the program has several problems, including the shortage and overextension of Police Mentor Teams, a shortage of trained ANCOP units (a relatively new force), and limited capacity at the Regional Training Centers. Additionally, the long-term plan for post-Focused District Development districts is to replace Police Mentor Teams with oversight from the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and partnering with the International Security Assistance Force when possible and appropriate. With less follow-on mentoring from Police Mentor Teams, there is a risk that Afghan National Police units that have completed the initial stages of Focused District Development could revert to earlier corrupt practices.

Afghan Border Police: Introduction

The Afghan Border Police force provides the Ministry of Interior with a law enforcement capability at international borders and Border Crossing Points. It polices the “green” international border and the Border Security Zone, which extends 55 kilometers into the territory of Afghanistan, to deter and detect illegal entry and other criminal activity. In addition, the Afghan Border Police controls pedestrian and vehicular traffic at border crossing points, including international airports, and is responsible for airport security.

The roles and tasks of the Afghan Border Police are:

• Deploy and maintain a competent and efficient Border Police force to control national borders and deny the illegal movement of people and goods as well as isolate insurgents and criminal groups from external sources of supplies, money and manpower.

• Facilitate the collection of customs duties and revenue dues by Customs Authorities at Border Crossing Points and International Airports.

• Conduct immigration and emigration services and related tracing and search functions.

• Maintain vigilance to counter terrorism and narcotics trafficking at Border Crossing Points, including international airports, and within the Border Security Zone; detect, report, and prevent smuggling within the Border Security Zone through surveillance and patrolling.

• Provide physical security at Border Crossing Points.

• Secure international airports, especially airfield perimeters, buildings, aircraft, and passengers.

• Provide law enforcement support to other authorities and conduct other tasks, as directed by Ministry of Interior.

The ANA. Click map to view.

Afghan Border Police is organized into five regions corresponding to the five Afghan National Army regions bordering Afghanistan, 33 battalions, and 135 companies. Border Police receives eight weeks of initial training at one of the Regional Training Commands. Troops who attend the course also receive an issue of weapons and gear. Unit training is accomplished by the Focused Border Development program (see below). Afghan Border Police has about 12,000 troops and an authorized strength of 17,676. The Ministry of Interior has launched an intensive recruiting campaign to bring the Afghan Border Police to full strength.

Afghan Border Police: Focused Border Development Program

A major program has been initiated to overhaul in the unit training of Afghan Border Police. The Focused Border Development Program is modeled after the Focused District Development Program for reforming the Afghan Uniformed Police.

Focused Border Development is starting by targeting one specific area: the Regional Command-East border area with Pakistan. The program will train and deploy a total of 52 Afghan Border Police Companies (4,200 Border Police). The training phase began in October 2008 and will run to June 2009. The mentoring phase runs subsequent to the training phase and is expected to make enough progress so that Afghan Border Police will perform their functions satisfactorily by late summer 2009.

The Regional Command-East program will be executed in three iterations of 17 Afghan Border Police companies each. The first iteration started Oct. 26 with 17 border companies sent back to police training centers for eight weeks. They will be retooled in regard to leadership training, border police training, and corrective skills training. They also will be re-equipped. This training is designed specifically to meet the threats identified by the ISAF Regional Command Commander for forces employed along that border to improve the survival and interdiction skills at unit level. After training, the Afghan Border Police companies will be sent back to their border posts where they will receive embedded advisers and be mentored for several months.

Focused Border Development is initially focused on the RC-East area because it is adjacent to the troubled Pakistani border region, but also because it is next to Combined Joint Task Force-101. The military normally relies on small teams of embedded advisers to train Afghan security forces, but those teams are in short supply. Therefore, Focused Border Development will rely on a partnership with CJTF-101 and Task Force Currahee (4th Brigade / 101st Airborne Division) for the mentoring phase of the program. TF Currahee will be the primary unit providing embedded advisers. It has begun assigning each of its battalions to work with a battalion of border police. Joint operations have begun with the first iteration of Afghan Border Police companies.

Another component of FBD is the construction of border facilities. As Afghan Border Police are trained, facilities will be built for them. A total of 165 permanent facilities along the RC-East portion of the Pakistan border are planned. As of January 2009, 18 facilities have been completed and 147 are in progress.

After completing the RC-East program, Focused Border Development will be expanded next to the RC South area to help improve the border region there. However, this expansion is contingent on the success of the RC-East program and on finding the necessary resources and mentoring partners in RC-South.

Associated Articles:

Afghan National Army Air Corps: February 2009 Update

Afghan National Army: February 2009 Update



  • LisaN says:

    Mr. Radin

    Can you give me an idea about which Regional Commands are producing the CM1 and CM2 rated ANP units? Are these high capability units pretty evenly distributed throughout the Regional Commands, or more concentrated in the south and east, along the ring road where the development program has been centered?

    Thanks for your good work, Lisa

  • anand says:

    Good question LisaN. Hmmm. This might be a good question to ask CSTC-A
    But let me give a smart alec answer 😉
    There are so few CM1 and CM 2 ANP units, the answer may not matter that much. CSTC-A only has a third of the ANP trainers they have requested. Boosting the number of ISAF/US trainers has to be a very high priority.
    I say, why not ask for Chinese, Indian, Korean, Brazilian, Mexican, South African, Indonesian, Malay, Thia, and other non NATO ANP trainers?

  • cjr says:

    ListN: the latter.
    The CM1 and CM2 units are either AUP units trained in the Focus District Development program, or the ANCOP units supporting FDD.
    The districts trained by FDD are those around the ring road in the RC-E, RC-S and RC-W most threaten by insurgents. The OOB page has a partial list of FDD trained districts from the first 3 cycles. I would bet these represent most of the CM1 and CM2 districts.

  • crosspatch says:

    What people here in the US might not fully appreciate is the problem the Afghan police are having with literacy. While they might get enough candidates, many can not read and write or they can read and write but not Pashto. That different districts within the country may speak different languages further complicates matters for a national police force.
    It isn’t as if a candidate can be given materials and be expected to gain knowledge through independent study since their literacy level is often that if a functional illiterate. Until the educational institutions are in place to provide the country with a literate population in a common language, any kind of undertakings by the central government are going to be extremely challenging.
    It is going to literally take decades to create what we would recognize as a nation state with a functioning central government in that country.

  • anand says:
    354 new trained ANP. How many ANP will be trained in 2009?

  • cjr says:

    How many ANP will be trained in 2009? Based on current plans:
    AUP:~50 districts per year x ~100 per district. ~5000
    ABP: 4200 by summer. After than, it depends…
    ANCOP: 800 every 16 weeks. ~2400 per year.
    APPF: ~6000 by summer. After that, it depends…

  • crosspatch says:

    In looking around the net for other stories on the literacy issue, I found the following recent editorial in Ontario’s “The Daily Observer”

    However, the fact that it has taken seven and a half years for the international community to realize that Afghan police should be literate enough to read an ID card and write out a complaint form does make one wonder just how serious we were in our initial pledges of commitment to the rebuilding of this failed stated.

    I believe this one issue is what is going to be the most difficult challenge facing the building an effective police and military force in Afghanistan. In fact, the problem extends to building an entire government infrastructure.
    Link to the article here.
    Without a literate force you can not publish regulations, print signs, issue identification, issue written orders, etc. The average person here in the US will have a hard time getting their head around the issue.

  • es says:

    your question on training points to one of the biggest problems in the ANP. Training is outsourced to a multitude of different actors ranging from the Afghan National Police Academy over European Police, US Military to private security companies like DynCorp or MPRI. Any quality in this soup gets frequently diluted by the constant need to use mostly low-end interpreters who need to translate everything the trainer says. Many of the terps I saw were overchallenged by even simple legal or administrative terms
    and then made up simply anything…
    The numbers quoted by CJR as to the training though-puts do unfortunately NOT reflect training of new staff. Training in FDD is mostly re-training serving police folks who already had their training courses in the RTCs since 2003/04, and might in the case of officers already have received a classic officer training (or not). Can we compare a cadet graduating from a three-year course at the Police Academy with a graduate of a three-week course?
    In many cases the training is not standardised, is too short in order to or not focused to remove the illiteracy. Much is target range practice.
    And: The problem seems to be retention. Both ANA and ANP are competing wiith an ever-growing competition in form of PMSCs recruiting relatively well-trained locals (there might be currently over 30,000 of them on contracts).
    Best Regards,


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